US Honda and Acura dealerships enrolled in the company’s ‘Green Dealer’ program are reaping amazing rewards – but there’s good news for Australian businesses too.
Almost 300 Honda and Acura dealerships in the US are striving to become the greenest of the green as part of a highly successful initiative to reward businesses that cut their carbon emissions.
The Green Dealer program was first introduced in 2011, after Honda realised that existing programs for making buildings more sustainable were not well-suited to dealerships.
Honda decided to create its own platform to assist Dealers with cutting their emissions, slashing their electricity bills and even striving to completely zero their reliance on carbon-derived electricity.
These noble ambitions have been achieved no more thoroughly than Rossi Honda of Vineland, New Jersey.
Rossi Honda was the first ‘electric grid neutral’ automotive dealership in the U.S., meaning it produces as much or more energy from its own renewable sources than what it takes from local utilities.
As part of the dealership’s ingenious environmental strategy, they’ve used 900 solar panels to create their own power.
As an added benefit, the motion sensors on the solar panel canopies provide extra security and protection for their outdoor inventory against the elements.
Rossi Honda has been awarded the Honda Environmental Leader Platinum Award for its efforts – the highest distinction as part of Honda’s reward program for dealerships that cut energy use.
Whilst platinum status is reserved for Dealers who achieve a 50% (or greater) reduction in their energy use, there’s also a gold status for those that cut 30% and silver for a 10% reduction.
The Green Dealer program measures performance across five key categories including energy performance, water efficiency, site attributes, sustainable best practices and waste reduction.
‘If you save energy, you save money, which Dealers find appealing’ said Honda vice president for environmental business development, Steven Center.
Aside from the advantages of saving money, Honda and Acura Dealers who are members of the Green Dealer program and achieve a silver rating (or higher) enjoy promotion through Honda’s Green Dealer website. Not to mention the freedom to market their achievements to a growingly conscientious car-buying public, who care about how seriously businesses take their responsibility to the environment.
The road to sustainability
So how does a dealership green-up its act and more importantly, why should it bother?
Well, according to Honda even simple adjustments like automating climate control and turning off lights after business hours can cut energy consumption by at least 10% and save over $7000 in utility costs annually.
U.S. stats show that buildings contribute most to energy consumption and carbon emissions at 39 per cent – more than transports (33%) and industry (29%). With plenty of energy intensive facilities and processes like large showrooms, workshops, car washes and more – dealerships are particularly demanding of power.
In fact, Honda says that U.S. dealerships collectively generate 7.7 million tons of carbon dioxide annually and consume 10,000 gigawatt hours of electricity.
But before any business can improve its power usage, it must first understand which areas are the most resource-demanding. In the case of dealerships this generally includes water usage, lighting and climate control.
According to Honda, dealerships travelling along the path to sustainability should first focus on these areas, investing in simple measures like LED lighting, automatic controls, better insulation and water efficient fixtures is a good start. Installing solar panels, training staff correctly and incorporating better waste management practises are also important steps to consider.
Your free Green Dealer guide
Late last year Honda released its internal Green Dealer Guide to the public to assist commercial businesses and companies, including other dealership brands, to reduce ‘dirty’ power usage.
‘We’re releasing the guide so the 17,000+ dealerships across all brands in the United States can take advantage of what we’ve learned’ says the Honda Green Dealer website.
Honda’s 93-page roadmap is an inspiring and useful tool for Australian dealership owners as well and is easily acquired online.
‘It’s contagious’ says Steven Center, ‘saving money and doing good makes businesses tougher and more resilient’.
To find out more about the Green Dealer initiative or to download the green guide for free, visit greendealer.honda.com.